At a ceremony on Thursday, Blood Tribe police officers received new epaulettes, which feature important symbols found throughout Blackfoot oral history.
The new insignia features the Sun, Moon, Morning-Star and Scarface.
“This marks a huge significance in our evolution into an Indigenous police service,” Blood Tribe Police Chief Brice Iron Shirt said.
The ceremony also included a headdress transfer, with acting Sgt. Hadiga Little Wolf receiving a headdress from an army veteran. Little Wolf is the first Indigenous police officer to achieve that honour.
“It’s showing a right of passage,” Little Wolf said. “I was really fortunate to be raised with a strong sense of belonging to my people, Blackfoot people and to the land where I’m from.”
The transfer ceremony and new epaulettes are all part of Iron Shirt’s goal of returning the service to its Indigenous roots.
“We took on a form of culture that just wasn’t ours and it didn’t work for us all these years.”
With local crime prevention programs already established or currently in development, he hopes to pave a path for other Indigenous law enforcement agencies across the country.
“We want to be the first in everything,” Iron Shirt said. “I don’t know of any other Indigenous service that has their own epaulette, their own Crime Stoppers program. (We’re) creating our first Indigenous-based, human-trafficking program.”
Building a police service that Iron Shirt believes will fit within the traditional Blackfoot way of life, something the Blood reserve has sorely needed.
“This is the perfect time now that Canada is recognizing truth and reconciliation and our federal policing program is now being looked at becoming an essential service, so this is the best time. We can actually start doing.”
The epaulettes will be worn by members of the Blood Tribe police force’s senior management team.
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